The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945) Thirty-second President of the USA.
Fear is something that goes hand in hand with courage. I suppose one can break down facing fear into multiple steps: First, acknowledge the subject matter that I am fearing. Two, muster enough courage to face the fear. Three, follow through...and don't chicken out.
Usually I have Steps 1 and 2 down. I manage to hype myself up so much and am energized, and somehow somewhere half way through Step 3 I am kind of faltering. Sometimes the results can be quite rewarding when we come out on the other end all unscathed. On the other hand, the fear can infest itself and grow deeper roots within the person when the experience ends badly.
Take this for example:
I hate roller coasters. I hate how they make they throw me around, and how I lose the orientation from where up and down is. They literally make me puke after I get off. The last time I rode a roller coaster before this event was over 10 years ago. And the last time before then, maybe also 10 years.
So here we were all at Six Flags. I managed to convince Swen & Florian to wake at 630a, to drive down to come watch me run a 5K, that was hosted at the Six Flags ground. In return, we'd go to Six Flags after. So, boys being boys easily went for this deal. Who wouldn't want to play afterwards? To sweeten the deal I told them I would ride one roller coaster with them. Any one of their choosing. In hindsight, I should not have offered them such a big blank check, because days on out, they kept joking about making me ride King da Ka. So much of overcoming fear. I think I was rather worried...Seeing that coaster in person wasn't any better.
I tried to tell myself that roller coaster are fun. After all, why do so many people get on them? And then ride them over and over and over again (like my brother). And these structures have to be safe, otherwise they wouldn't be allowed in parks. We certify and inspect everything in the US, right? We care about safety and well-beings; or at least we care about avoiding lawsuits and damaged reputation...so I'm sure these are safe. So with all these thoughts racing through my head, I was accomplishing Step 2 quite well. Psyching myself up to all the reasons why I was being silly.
So my not so heartless friends said, let's go warm up. So went onto a kiddie roller coaster. HA! It was one of those little wagon wooden ones...no loopies... nothing. I remember telling Florian that he has to sit in the same wagon with me. So off it went, slowly at first. Chug chug...chug chug... and the first horrible drop...wooosh! (Ok call me a hypocrit, but I love riding those wooden log rides with water, because there is only one horrible drop and then it's all over, but I hate roller coasters) Not quite sure how the rest of the ride went, except that my heart was racing when the wagons pulled back into the start position. Florian mentioning that I have crushed every single bone in his hand and that he went deaf. I swear I was held captive on this ride for what seemed like hours, but rationally I know that was not possible.
Then we took a break, walked around and decided to go on another kiddy roller coaster. About half an hour later when my heart rate decided to settle to a more normal one, the guys manage to convince me that my horrible experience was due to the wooden wagons. It wasn't a smooth ride, jerky and not fun. So off we went on another kiddy coaster. Except this one was metal, had rails and has a few loopies.
All these excited kids were running up to this. I didn't see what all this fuss was all about, but hey, if they survive and they had fun, then why won't I? So off I went with all the courage and then some. Somewhere around the second loop it all went away. Florian came out more deaf, and this time his other hand had all bones crushed. At least I evened things out for him, didn't I?
I looked so pale when I came off the coaster, and proceeded to see the whole world colliding together. My legs felt like jelly...I just remember waking up to the thought "No more roller coasters. I am allergic to them"
The one good thing of this is, I faced my fear. And I have comfortably rid myself off of the mystery and gripping power they had over me. Now I can easily say "I can swear of roller coasters because they aren't for me, and not because I am fearful of them."